Plenty of musicians dream of making it big, but the next best thing is
making it a full-time job.
One such group of musicians is doing just that, and they recently
represented Delaware at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn.
That was the prize the guys of lower case blues won when they took first
place at the Diamond State Blues Society's battle of the bands in September 2007.
The band members are guitarist Jake Banaszak, bassist and vocalist B.J.
Muntz, and drummer Paul Weik.
The musicians continuously impress blues lovers with their talent that goes
far beyond their years.
At the Jan. 26 "Goin' to Memphis" send-off party hosted by the DSBS, a few
fans said they were "old souls" for the musical ability they possess.
Banaszak, formerly of Middletown, said the band didn't make it to the IBC
finals, but they did turn some of the judges' heads.
"One judge said we were extremely entertaining and we set the bar really
high," he said. "That was a really good compliment. We got good scores and we
Banaszak said the competition took place last week in 10 venues along the
world famous blues spot Beale Street. Ten bands performed at each site and one
band from each venue then went on to the finals.
He said they had a tough break with their time slots because they had early
shows on both days they competed when the club wasn't full.
lower case blues played at the Blues City Café, where such artists as blues
legend Albert King have frequented.
"It was awesome. It was a lot of fun," Banaszak said. "A lot of famous
people have played there. Just playing at that club, it was really inspiring for
me to be in that room and on a street where so much happened in history for
He said the highlight of the trip was checking out all the other bands,
because music was a constant presence.
"My favorite part was you could just walk around all night and hear music
coming from everywhere," Banaszak said. "We spent four days on that street and
didn't get bored. It hasn't even really soaked in yet."
He said the band also got to network because the town was full of musicians,
blues societies and media outlets.
Banaszak said the entire experience, especially watching the finals, prepared
the band for future competitions.
"At first it was a little overwhelming because there were so many good
bands," he said. "After watching the finals and how everything went, we definitely
saw where to go with it if we had a second chance."
Banaszak said the band has been together for about five years, four of which
they've played professionally.
He said they moved to the beach in 2004 with hopes to get a few gigs for the
"We got a lot of gigs and got to know a lot of people. It went better than we
thought," Banaszak said. "We moved down May 1 going on four years ago. That
was the last time I had a day job."
During the winter months, the band plays anywhere from two to four shows a
week. In the summer months, it's usually five.
The band has played all around Delaware and even as far as Austin, Texas,
and they have no plans of slowing down anytime soon.
"It seems like there's always something to keep us going," Banaszak said. "It
was Memphis for a few months, now we're opening up for [blues artist]
Michael Burks in March. We have gigs every week, but there are these certain things
I keep looking forward to."
To check out a few lower case blues songs, go to
_www.myspace.com/lowercaseblues_ (http://www.myspace.com/lowercaseblues) .
lower case blues band competes at International Blues Challenge in Memphis